Can you buy a car if you don’t have insurance?

Can you buy a car if you don't have insurance? You can't drive your new vehicle off the lot the same day without insurance. Learn more.. If you already have auto insurance, your ordinary auto insurance policy will likely cover you when driving a new car off the lot. However, if you don't have insurance, you cannot drive your new vehicle off the lot the same day, as you need to have insurance to drive it off the lot.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • You can buy auto insurance online.
  • If you already have auto insurance, your ordinary car insurance policy will likely cover you when driving a new car off the lot.
  • Some auto insurance policies will only extend coverage for the drive from the dealership to your home when buying a new car.

So you don’t have auto insurance, but you want to buy a new car. Can you buy a car if you don’t have insurance? Today, we’re going to answer that question and explain everything you need to know about insuring a new car the day you get it.

Knowing what the best auto insurance companies are can help you find the most affordable auto insurance quotes for you and your vehicle.

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Can I buy a car without auto insurance?

If you already have auto insurance, your ordinary auto insurance policy will likely cover you when driving a new car off the lot.

Most auto insurance policies will provide automatic coverage for new car purchases equal to the broadest coverage on your current vehicle.

In other words, if you are looking at insuring a new car, your current auto insurance policy will typically cover you.

Some auto insurance policies will only extend coverage for the drive from the dealership to your home. Most times, policies permit this drive directly home from the dealership with full insurance coverage. But you need to adjust insurance after you get home.

In some cases, your auto insurance will cover you for up to 4 days after purchasing your new vehicle.

There are some restrictions to this rule. How many cars are insured on the same policy will impact your coverage a bit. If you have a solo policy, your new vehicle will have the same coverage as your other vehicle.

If you have multiple vehicles listed on your policy, your new vehicle will have the same coverage level as the highest protected vehicle on your policy.

In some cases, it’s best to notify your auto insurance company from the dealership lot.

You might provide your VIN and other details to your auto insurance agent over the phone to adjust your policy. Some dealerships will not accept your insurance company’s “grace period” as valid proof of insurance.

Do you have to register a car before getting insurance?

Most states require that you have auto insurance before you register your car.

An insurance card or a printout detailing your coverage is typically enough to get the registration without your vehicle. The local DMV will verify your proof of insurance and lists the vehicle you want to register. The DMV will also make sure your policy provides the state minimum coverage.

Don’t know how much auto insurance is required in your state?

Check with Insurance Information Institute for state requirements or see the table below to see what auto insurance your state requires.

State Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements
StateMinimum Bodily Injury Liability Limits per IndividualMinimum Bodily Injury Liability Limits per AccidentMinimum Property Damage Lability Limits
Alabama$25,000$50,000$25,000
Alaska$50,000$100,000$25,000
Arizona$15,000$30,000$10,000
Arkansas$25,000$50,000$25,000
California$15,000$30,000$5,000
Colorado$25,000$50,000$15,000
Connecticut$25,000$50,000$20,000
Delaware$25,000$50,000$10,000
District of Columbia$25,000$50,000$10,000
Florida$10,000$20,000$10,000
Georgia$25,000$50,000$25,000
Hawaii$20,000$40,000$10,000
Idaho$25,000$50,000$15,000
Illinois$25,000$50,000$20,000
Indiana$25,000$50,000$25,000
Iowa$20,000$40,000$15,000
Kansas$25,000$50,000$25,000
Kentucky$25,000$50,000$25,000
Louisiana$15,000$30,000$25,000
Maine$50,000$100,000$25,000
Maryland$30,000$60,000$15,000
Massachusetts$20,000$40,000$5,000
Michigan$20,000$40,000$10,000
Minnesota$30,000$60,000$10,000
Mississippi$25,000$50,000$25,000
Missouri$25,000$50,000$25,000
Montana$25,000$50,000$20,000
Nebraska$25,000$50,000$25,000
Nevada$25,000$50,000$20,000
New Hampshire$25,000$50,000$25,000
New Jersey$15,000$30,000$5,000
New Mexico$25,000$50,000$10,000
New York$25,000$50,000$10,000
North Carolina$30,000$30,000$25,000
North Dakota$25,000$50,000$25,000
Ohio$25,000$50,000$25,000
Oklahoma$25,000$50,000$25,000
Oregon$25,000$50,000$20,000
Pennsylvania$15,000$30,000$5,000
Rhode Island$25,000$50,000$25,000
South Carolina$25,000$50,000$25,000
South Dakota$25,000$50,000$25,000
Tennessee$25,000$50,000$15,000
Texas$30,000$60,000$25,000
Utah$25,000$65,000$15,000
Vermont$25,000$50,000$10,000
Virginia$25,000$50,000$20,000
Washington$25,000$50,000$10,000
West Virginia$25,000$50,000$25,000
Wisconsin$25,000$50,000$10,000
Wyoming$25,000$50,000$20,000
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In this case, you might need your insurance company to fax the paperwork to the dealership.

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Can I drive a car off the lot without insurance?

Everything we said up above was written, assuming that you don’t need insurance before buying a before driving your car off the lot.

But what happens if you need auto insurance?

What happens if you’re not currently covered, or if this is your first vehicle?

In this situation, then you need to get insurance before driving off the lot. You are legally required to have auto insurance to drive.

Fortunately, most auto insurance companies allow you to get instant auto insurance on short notice online or over the phone at any time of the day or night.

How do I add auto insurance?

Generally, you’ll want to buy auto insurance several days before buying your new vehicle. This is particularly true when you’re buying a car out of state and driving it home. That longer drive back to your state poses more risk that you need to watch out for.

If you know which vehicle you want, then you can buy auto insurance for that specific vehicle. Ensure the auto insurance is scheduled to be activated on the day you’re buying the vehicle from the dealership. You then can legally buy the vehicle and drive it off the lot that day while retaining full coverage. (Read more on how to choose cheap full coverage.)

Alternatively, if you didn’t prepare in advance, or if you’re jumping on an unexpected deal at a car dealership, then you can buy instant auto insurance while you’re at the dealership. You can buy auto insurance online, for example, and have the paperwork sent to you immediately before driving your vehicle off the lot.

Most insurance companies also have hotlines you can call. Some insurance companies will operate weekend hotlines, for example, when they would normally be closed, because they understand most vehicle buyers are purchasing vehicles on weekends.

All major insurance companies will have some hotline you can call to buy insurance immediately over the phone. Visit the website of any auto insurance company to immediately buy insurance online or over the phone.

Using this system, you can get auto insurance immediately and drive your car off the lot the same day you buy the vehicle – regardless of whether or not you currently have auto insurance.

Learn More About Your Policy

If you’re buying a new vehicle and want to drive it off the lot, then you need auto insurance coverage. You cannot drive a vehicle on a public road in the United States without auto insurance, or you will be penalized.

Let’s go over what we just learned: If you already have an auto insurance policy for another vehicle, this auto insurance policy will typically cover your new vehicle.

Some policies automatically extend coverage for the drive from the dealership to your home. Other policies offer temporary coverage, which means you have four days to notify your auto insurance company of your new vehicle. Some drivers will call their insurance company from the dealership to change coverage before driving off the lot.

If you’re ready to start looking for car insurance in your area, use our free tool to begin. Enter your ZIP code to start comparing auto insurance rates from local agents.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Can you buy a car if you don’t have insurance?

If you do not currently have auto insurance, you will need to have auto insurance before driving the car off the dealership’s lot. The car dealership will not let you leave with the vehicle until you provide proof of insurance.

In this case, you can buy auto insurance instantly online or over the phone from any major auto insurance company to ensure you’re able to drive the car off the lot the same day.

#1 – Is state minimum coverage enough?

Yes and no. “Enough” car insurance is hard to measure. In this instance, buying a car, state minimum coverage is adequate to complete your purchase.

#2 – Where can I get same-day insurance?

Here is a list of a few companies that you can get same-day insurance from.

  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Amica
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

Mos companies will initiate your auto insurance on the same day.

#3 – What is the best day to buy a car?

The best day to but a car is in th middle of the week: Tuesday or Wednesday, Not many people will be at the dealership during those days.

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